August 22, 2008

Mobile phones are playing an increasingly important role in people's daily lives -- traveling with them at all times, helping them make key shopping decisions, and connecting them to email, coupons, location-based services, and other applications. These are among the findings of How People Use(R) Cell Phones, a new study from Knowledge Networks.

Three in five (60%) mobile phone owners say they carry their phones at all times, even inside the home -- up 50% since a 2002 KN analysis; and 32% say they call friends or family "all the time" or "often" when making shopping decisions, a figure that jumps to 45% among those ages 18 to 34. When asked an open-ended question about what they dislike about their cell phones, respondents most often (15%) said, "Nothing."

Younger users want more features

Enthusiasm for a variety of mobile phone applications, such as watching video or using GPS-type functions, is noticeably higher among younger generations. KN found that 61% of "Gen Y" consumers, or "Millennials," say "the more features the better" on a cell phone, compared with 27% of Boomers.

The study also shows that, among mobile phone owners:

-- Members of Generation Y (ages 13 to 29) send an average of 20 text messages daily, compared to just 2 for Generation X (30-43) and less than one for Baby Boomers (44 to 64)
-- Teens are four times as likely to report having watched TV or video on their phones as adults (8% versus 2%)

"Mobile phones are emerging as a powerful complement to the Web, in both entertainment and information seeking," said David Tice, Vice President and Group Account Director, Knowledge Networks and director of The Home Technology Monitor. "Many people and businesses could not function without the Web today, and the 'always-with-me' pervasiveness of cell phones expands the reach of Internet functionality. As standard phones get upgraded with Web connections and location-based-features, their utility and necessity will only increase. Consumers are also clearly open to mobile advertising concepts that provide them real value in exchange for their attention to a marketing message."

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